Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/rs-contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
Publication Detail
Re-Reading the Collective Property Issue. A Genealogy of the Social
This paper offers some preliminary suggestions for critically rethinking the issue of collective property. These suggestions are part of a broader investigation into the legal debate which took place among German and French jurists in the period from the mid-nineteenth century to the first two decades of the twentieth century, and whose echo spread, to a certain extent, among Italian jurists at the beginning of the twentieth century. Part of this legal debate has significantly focused on the rediscovery of a specific legal institution, Gesammte Hand. Gesammte Hand is a form of collective property that began to reemerge from the Germanic customary law in the middle of the nineteenth century, thanks to the works of some German jurists particularly interested in the social and collective dimension of the legal phenomenon. In the last decades of the nineteenth century Otto Von Gierke’s works revived Gesammte Hand with more persistence than anybody else before, in order to bring it back to the centre of the German legal debate and with the ultimate goal of adding a greater emphasis on the social dimension of law in the nascent German Civil Code. The thought underlying my project is that, at the threshold of the twentieth century, some French jurists were influenced by the Germanist side of the Historical School which, sensitive to social issues, first reacted against the notion of individual property and, particularly through Gierke’s ideas, focused on the customs of ancient Germanic people in claiming that the true Germanic model of property was collective property.Although the “initial innovators” of Social Legal Thought were German, the main representatives of the Social were French. According to a new belief in law as a social science evolving in response to changing social needs, French Social jurists recognized a new tendency in French legal discourse towards the emergence of the so-called propriété en main commune. This model of collective property is different both from the indivision and the personnalité morale because it is no longer managed according to the mechanisms of the individualistic model of property, but rather through collective mechanisms. The analysis of this legal institution, along with an inquiry into the reasons for its revival in the Germanic legal debate and its utilization by French jurists at the beginning of the twentieth century, allows us to highlight the key points of what I shall call the ‘Social Rebellion’ against the individualistic conceptualization of private property. As a final preliminary thought, my interest in studying collective property has been reinforced by the contemporary debate around the ‘commons’ and the belief that focusing attention on a specific stage of the legal debate about collective property could contribute to a better understanding of the concepts of ‘common’ and ‘collective’. The idea is to face the issue by adopting a historical and comparative perspective, which could help to treat the problem of the ‘commons’ not only as a purely political issue but as embracing instead a more complex perspective, in order to examine the way in which the problem of collective property, usually presented as something pertaining to the past rather than contemporary, is discussed today within the intellectual framework.
Publication data is maintained in RPS. Visit https://rps.ucl.ac.uk
 More search options
UCL Researchers
Faculty of Laws
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by